Julia was conscious of a new vitality as she left the Park. She was her own mistress now; her half tie to Graveling was permanently broken. So much the better! The man’s personality had always been distasteful to her. She had suffered him only as a fellow worker. His overtures in other directions had kept her in a continual state of embarrassment, but in her ignorance as to her own feelings, she had hesitated to speak out. She put sedulously behind her the question of what had brought this new enlightenment.
She took the Tube to the British Museum and went round to see Aaron. The house was busier than she had ever seen it before; taxicabs were coming and going, and four or five people sat in the waiting-room. Aaron looked up and waved his hand as she entered. He was alone in the study where he worked.
“Come in,” he cried eagerly. “Sit down. It’s a joy to see you, Julia, but I daren’t stop working. I’ve forty or fifty letters to type before he comes in, and he’ll be off again in half-an-hour.”
She sank into an easy chair. The atmosphere of the cool room, with its opened windows and drawn Venetian blinds, was most restful.
“Is everything going well, Aaron?” she asked him.
“Better than well. There’s a telegram just in from Manchester. We are bound to win there. Did you read Foley’s speech?”
“Yes. Did he mean it all, do you think?” she asked doubtfully.
“Every word,” he replied confidently. “We’ve got it here in black and white. There has been a commission appointed. Members of the Government, if you please—nothing less. The masters have got an ultimatum. If they refuse, Mr. Foley has asked Maraton to frame a bill. We’ve got the sketch of it here already. What do you think of that, Julia?”
“I only wish that I knew,” she murmured. “What can have happened to Mr. Foley?”
“They all do as Maraton bids them!” Aaron ex-claimed triumphantly. “If only I had four hands! I can’t finish, Julia. It’s impossible.”
She sprang up and tore off her gloves.
“Let me help,” she cried eagerly. “You have another typewriter in the corner there. I can work it, and you know I could always read your shorthand.”
He accepted her help a little grudgingly.
“You must be careful, then,” he enjoined, with the air of one who confers a favour. “There must be no mistakes. Begin here and do those letters. One carbon copy of each. I’ll lift the machine on to the table for you.”
She propped up the book and very soon there was silence in the room, except for the click of the two typewriters. Presently she stopped short and uttered a little cry.
“What is it?” he demanded, without looking up from his work.
“This letter to the Secretary of the Unionist Association, Nottingham!”